Fifteen states and Amtrak will receive $2.02 billion for their high-speed rail efforts, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Monday, May 9. The additional money is a portion of the $2.4 billion returned by Florida Gov. Rick Scott that was originally slated for a proposed high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando.
The funding will now be used for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects as part of a network to connect 80 percent of the U.S. population to high-speed rail over the next 25 years. Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted nearly 100 applications seeking the money.
The submissions were evaluated by the Federal Railroad Administration and judged on the project’s ability to reduce energy consumption, improve efficiency of a region’s transportation network and a number of other criteria.
The remaining $400 million from Florida’s $2.4 billion was rescinded in the federal budget agreement for fiscal 2011, according to Brie Sachse, director of public affairs for the Federal Railroad Administration.
Some of the larger allocations of the $2.02 billion include:
- $795 million to upgrade portions of the Northeast Corridor to increase speed on segments, improve performance and add more seats for passengers;
- $404.1 million to expand high-speed rail in the Midwest;
- $336.2 million to invest in state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars for California and the Midwest; and
- $300 million for further groundwork on the nation’s first 220 mph rail system in California, extending the 110-mile segment by an additional 20 miles through the state’s Central Valley.
A complete list of the awards is located on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood touted the economic benefits the awards would bring communities nationwide. “The investments we’re making today will help states across the country create jobs, spur economic development and boost manufacturing,” LaHood said in a statement.